Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve blogged repeatedly about my reaction to watching the BBC documentaries – A Child Against All Odds. You can read my previous posts here & here. Well last night I watched the show again and it brought back strong memories of my last pregnancy.
I’d been taking a break from conventional IF treatment and had been seeing Dr Debbie Smith, she was treating me with a combination of Chinese herbs and weekly acupuncture sessions. Now, I need to state at this point, I had not embarked on an IVF as yet, we’d done some timed, stimulated cycles but nothing near comparable to what was to lie ahead. So the acupuncture was a big deal for me. I remember I used to get slightly clammy at each session and I hated the needles that went into the tops of my feet and into my wrists, I did find them uncomfortable, but you know how it goes, for those of us that have battled, we’ll do just about anything if there was a chance of a pregnancy. For one month I took the Chinese herbs religiously, they were completely disgusting and I’d have to hold my nose and work hard to get them down, gagging all the way. After one cycle of treatment with her, she told me it was time to start trying. So we did, no scans, no stims, no triggers. We just kind of estimated when ovulation would be and did what other couples do when trying to make a baby.
About 5 days before AF was due, around CD23, being the obsessive compulsive that I am, I decided to do a HPT. Boy was I completely stunned when it showed that magical, impossible to achieve second line. That was a Friday. W and I decided to wait a few more days and repeat the HPT’s which I did about another 20 times over that weekend, each time with the same unmistakable result. BFP BFP BFP! Over and over again. On the Monday morning I simply couldn’t take it for another second and raced off to the clinic, even though, technically AF wasn’t due for another 3 days. My beta count came back at 29. My then clinic don’t say you’re pregnant unless your count is 30. So I had to have a repeat beta on the Wednesday, the wait almost killed me. There are no words that can ever capture just how unbearable that wait is, you can only under stand the torture of repeated beta’s if you’ve experienced it yourself. My second beta came back at 76, more than a double, a good sign. I was officially pregnant. Again we waited the torturous time for the third beta, again, nearly loosing my mind in the process. The third beta – 210, again more than a double, my Dr told me I could stop with the repeated beta’s, that I was well and truly pregnant.
The excitement of the positive beta’s lasted all of about 5 minutes each time. The window of pure, unadulterated joy which I got to experience at the good news of each beta, only lasted 5 minutes. Quickly to be replaced by utter terror of what would lie ahead, remembering what I’d already been through 5 times and being utterly terrified of having that happen again. I had to wait another 2 weeks for my first scan. That has got to be the longest two weeks of my life. The 2ww after IVF is pure torture, but this kind of wait takes torture to a whole new level for me. There were days when I was so overwhelmed by anxiety that I was paralyzed by it, I was unable to function, unable to hold a conversation and unable to concentrate on anything at work. It was all I could do to robotically move through the day, get home, cook dinner and get straight into bed. Sleep was my only escape but even that was torture, filled with dreams, weird dreams, scary dreams, dreams about loss.
Finally the week of my 6 week scan dawned. I was SO close and yet even more terrified than before. The day before my scheduled 6 week scan, when performing my usual bathroom ritual – walk into loo – yank down pants – sit – do my business – then close my eyes and pray – God please don’t let there be blood, God please don’t let there be blood, God please don’t let there be blood – use the loo paper – inspect the loo paper for any signs of bleeding – I noticed something on the paper. I swear in that moment it felt like my guts fell right out of me, I had this strong sensation of a 10 ton weight falling on my head, of my insides splattering all over the place. I tried to hold my composure for the remainder of the day, what a joke, I was in the loo repeating the bathroom ritual about every 15 minutes. Finally after going home and continuing the ritual I had to let it go, there had been nothing else. I tried to comfort myself with the fact that perhaps what I’d seen had been my imagination or not what I thought it was to begin. I woke up at 2am the following morning with the usual week pregnant bladder to go to the bathroom. And there it was again. The trace of something, it can’t be called blood because it wasn’t bloody but I’d seen this something before, I’d had this something on a number of my previous miscarriages, when I lay in bed for days on end, on forced bed rest while my Dr’s tried to decide if it was indeed a miscarriage or just a threatened miscarriage. I knew that this something did not bode well for me, I knew it was a bad sign. I started crying. W and I sat up the rest of the night, waiting for morning, waiting for when I could get to the clinic and have that scan, waiting to hear if our hopes and dreams had been crushed again.
I remember arriving for my scan, of having the nurse that had done my tests show me the thumbs up. She didn’t understand, she couldn’t understand what horror I knew was about to unfold for me. Finally it was our turn. Finally I was on that dreaded bed with my knickers off and the d.i.l.d.0 cam looking for our baby. I heard my Dr let out a huge sigh, I could see the screen, I knew what was coming was not good, I heard him say – this is not what we’d expect to see at this stage of pregnancy – this is not good – I think we need to do another beta on you. It sounds very cliché, but I remember my head went all foggy like I couldn’t concentrate on what was happening around me, I couldn’t breathe and the voices sounded like they were coming to me down a tunnel. Like a robot, I got dressed, I walked out of the consulting rooms, into an over flowing reception room, as I saw the nurse, my nurse, when she looked at me questioningly to find out if it was good news, I felt my knees buckle as I collapsed on the floor, I heard the sobs bursting out of me like they were coming out of somebody else.
My repeat beta at 6 weeks of pregnancy was 121….. there was no hope…….it was over. I bled for 6 weeks and have been unable to fall pregnant since then. My current RE says my inability to fall pregnant is “psychosomatic” and that pregnancy would be “therapeutic” for me. He believes that because of what has gone before, I’ve closed myself off from this miracle, too fearful to face what could potentially happen again. Sometimes I think he’s right. That miscarriage pushed me right to the edge, I teetered right on the brink of insanity, I was inconsolable, I contemplated suicide. Nothing could prepare me for that pain, I’m terrified of facing it again.
Miscarriages are funny things, you can never really understand just how unexpectedly painful they are till you experience on for yourself. They become more and more difficult to deal with the more you have to experience them. My first one crushed me, my last one almost killed me. I know that some women believe that I’m not entitled to grieve in this manner because I never saw a heart beat, that somehow this is less painful because of that fact. But really, a miscarriage is not just the grief over a lost pregnancy, its the loss of your dreams, the loss of your iinnocense, the indescribable disappointment, the loss of your dreams and aspirations for what could have/should have been.
Last night’s episode of A Child Against All Odds showed a woman having her 6 week scan and receiving the news that the baby was not where it should be, after weeks of repeated beta’s, she made it to her first scan day only to have her hopes and dreams crushed in an instant. My heart broke for her!